I always draw the characters first in pencil. I make many lines, swirls, and squiggles until the shape I am looking for begins to emerge. Once I can see the shape I want, I go over it with pencil again, pressing harder to make the final shape stand out.
Next I scan the image, adjust it to the size I want to work with, and print it out.
Now I use a light box to trace the image onto a new sheet of paper with a black permanant marker.
I scan the black line image and open it in Photoshop.
Now comes the fun part! Using Photoshop, I can color and shade the character however I want until I’m happy with the result!